Best Practices for Outlook

These suggestions can help streamline and improve your Outlook experience!

  • Focused Inbox for Outlook automatically separates the types of messages you're most likely to read right away from other messages 
  • Use rules to send the messages into their own folders (more suggestions below)

  • Reduce the number of places where you manually file messages

  • Reduce the mental tax of filing by relying on search to locate messages

Having an Inbox for messages that you need to process (deal with) can be a huge help with staying organized. Your Inbox is for messages sent directly to you or that could be important for you to read. 

If you receive many messages that go back and forth among several different people, change to Conversations view. Otherwise, use the date arrangement (the default arrangement).  

Reference Folder

A single reference folder, under the Inbox, for all reference material that you might want to refer back to later. Nothing is automatically filed (that is, with a rule) into this folder. Name this folder 1-Reference. (Adding the 1- will cause it to be the first item under the Inbox.) This folder is created under the Inbox so that you can collapse the Inbox and remove it from view. 

Set this folder to auto archive annually. 

Note: If this folder becomes too large (10,000 items or more), Outlook might become slow when switching to this folder. 

Career vs Private Folder

A folder for career-related, private, and personal messages. Having a separate folder for personal and career-related information gives you the freedom to search for a message while someone is standing over your shoulder without worrying that a personally sensitive message will appear. Name this folder 2-Personal. Managers might have a single folder for feedback on their employees called 3-Management. 

Set these folders to auto archive annually. 

Distribution List Folder

A set of folders for Contact Group messages. All messages sent to Contact Groups (also known as list servers, or mailing lists, or distribution lists) don’t necessarily need to be read. This set of folders is the repository for all of the Contact Group messages that aren’t automatically delivered to your Inbox. Create a single, top-level folder under your Inbox called Contact Groups, and then create a subfolder for each topic of Contact Groups. Usually, one folder per Contact Group is enough, but if you are on several related Contact Groups, consider having all of the messages delivered to the same folder. 

Collapse the top-level Contact Group folder so that you aren’t distracted by the unread messages in the folders beneath it. 

Note: If you need to read every message on a Contact Group, don’t create a folder for it. These messages should go directly to your Inbox. 

Set your Contact Group folders to auto archive every six months or more frequently if they are time sensitive — for example, a Contact Group for finding carpool rides should be archived daily. 

For more information  - Microsoft Outlook Best Practices


Article ID: 1976
Wed 8/28/19 2:15 PM
Tue 11/16/21 3:26 PM
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